The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is jewish rye jewish?

kolobezka's picture

Is jewish rye jewish?


I am looking for some traditional jewish recipes to prepare for a lecture about Israel. It would be great to make some typical bread that goes with savory spreads and salads, but I could not find any on various jewish web pages. Only Challah and Matza are mentioned there.

Then I realised there are recipes for so called "Jewish rye" here on TFL and in some breadmaking books. But nowhere did I find any history or other connection to jewish tradition. So my question is: Is "Jewish rye" really typically jewish (or israeli)?


jcking's picture


I may be corrected yet I believe the jewish rye we americans are familar with is more of a jewish-american bread. And were called as such because jewish bakers, in america, baked them


Bee18's picture

I don't think that there is anything traditional or specifically jewish or israeli about the Jewish Rye. This bread was made by the Jews living in Poland Russia and probably also in Germany, anywhere where Rye was easy and affordable to find. It was imported with the jewish bakers to America and from there it became more famous. The only think that I think is a constant in this bread is the use of the caraway or cumin seeds, which you don't always find in the other Rye bread recipes.

Challah and Matza are specific to the Jewish tradition. Why two challot on Friday night ? to remember that in the desert on the sixth day they got twice amount of the "Mann" enough for the seventh day too.

The jews living in North Africa India Ethiopia and the Middle east were traditionnally baking very large "pitah" like the rest of the muslims communities and never taste any rye bread or challah which are made by the ashkenazim (ashkenaz is the hebrew term for germany!) Today the Challah is the main bread you can find every Friday in Israel therefore all communities Ashkenaz or sepharad eat it.

A jewish Bee

Stuart Borken's picture
Stuart Borken

Dear Kolobrezka;

Remember, Israel was recreated in land promised to the Jews thousands of years ago in the Middle East.  This has become problematic.  The typical bread there is the pita pocket bread, and lavosh, which, if you look closely at it, is really matza.  The Fresh Loaf, recently, published a great recipe and video of how to make great pita bread.  So, if you want to lecture on the breads of Isreal, do Pita!  If you want to do a wonderful fantastic New York Deli Style Rye Bread, then read the rye bread recipe in Artisian Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I have been making that bread for years and just last week, I made 4 appetizer size loaves for my chopped liver.  People could not believe that I made the chopped liver and the chopped herring and they were blown away by the quality of the rye bread.  I have Zoe and Jeff from ABIFMAD to thank for making me look good.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

The recipe in New York Deli Style Rye Bread in Artisian Bread in Five Minutes a Day calls for 1 cup of rye to 5.5 cups of all-purpose flour. Can that even be called a rye bread? Is that really how NY Deli Rye's are made? 

Stuart Borken's picture
Stuart Borken

Yes.  The New York Deli Style Rye from ABIFMAD is very much a rye bread.  When I make it I add 1/4 cup dry onion flakes and increase the caraway seed in the dough to by 1/2 tbst to 2 tbsp and I increase the salt by 1/2 tbsp to 2 tbsp.  When you mix this very wet batter and allow it to sit for a couple to three days and ferment, you are producing a sourdough.  The bread is classic Jewish Style Rye.  You just need to perfect your shaping and slashing and decorating with extra caraway and coarse salt to make it look like the classic.  If I can do it, you can do it.  stu b.

Ambimom's picture

Jewish rye has a sourdough base made from rye bread and is unlike typically American rye bread which is a regular bread made from rye flour.  As someone brought up on Jewish rye, the stuff around today is a pale imitation of the real thing.  

Considering that this site spawned the Jewish bakery book 

I suggest you consider Norm's recipe.  His onion rolls (which I've made several times) are just as I remember in childhood.  His rye bread is bound to be just as authentic. 

HeidiH's picture

Here's an except from the index listing the rye bread recipes:

Black Bread (Razeve Broyt), 57, 63–66, 105.
see also Pumpernickel; Rye Breads
95% rye sourdough bread, 57
recipe, 64–66
Corn Rye, (kornbroyt), 57, recipe 72–74
Marble Rye, 57–58, recipe 80
Mild Deli Rye (20% rye), 76–79
New York (Sweet) Rye, 79–80
Old School Jewish Deli Rye, 74–76
Onion Rye, 58, recipe 80
Tzitzelbroyt, 76

The whole index is available at


kolobezka's picture

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions!!!

So, I will make a challah (or rather two... :)) from Hamelmans´s bread and a "jewish rye" with sourdough and added yeast. When I studied the recipes carefully I realized that they are practically very, very similar to what we make here in the Czech republic: braided sweet yeasted dough (vanocka) and wheat-rye careway bread (it´s a daily bread here). We only call it differently. I  may give a try to Pitas according to TFL tutorial to add something more unusual.

I also plan farafels, eggplant salad, charoset and hamantaschen.

Bee - I really appreciate your explanations  and experience from Israel.


Unfortunately it´s too late for today, but I will certainly add Stan´s new book on my wish list. And maybe another book about traditional jewish meals as I am very interested in the Torah, hebrew and all around that. Any recommendations for a good book with pictures?



Stuart Borken's picture
Stuart Borken

Dear Kolobrezka

I received my copy yestereday and thought of you immediatly.  This book is just what you were requesting.

Please comment when you obtain your copy.

Stu B.

Minneapolis, Minnesota